Arizona's new "illegal immigration law" -- and the enormous backlash -- are in the news daily. (Facing History has a great summary of some of the stories and some questions to spark student discussion.) A new study out of Australia notes that people who are racist tend to think their views are in the majority. Another new study discovered that people who are racist tend to support "punitive criminal justice policy."
Stories like these demonstrate just how well racism and prejudice continue to flourish. It's important for educators to explore issues of racism, discrimination, bigotry and prejudice with their students. Here are a few resources to get you started:
We at the Institute for Humane Education have two great activities for younger students -- Dare to Be Different (pdf) and Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged (pdf). In the first, students have a chance to "dare to be different" by altering their appearance for a day, to learn more about issues of prejudice. The second explores our judgments and snap perceptions of others. High school and college students can explore their own areas of bigotry and learn more about reducing prejudice in their own lives & in society through the activity More Than a Label (pdf).
Teaching Tolerance offers an activity that explores racial profiling. They have a variety of other activities focused on issues of understanding prejudice and promoting compassion and tolerance.
UnderstandingPrejudice.org, from the Social Psychology Network, offers a wealth of information and resources for students and educators to explore issues of prejudice and bias. The website offers activities, links to websites, articles and other readings, as well as interactive surveys, quizzes and tours on topics such as “Test Yourself for Hidden Bias,” “What’s Your Native IQ?” and “Where Do You Draw the Line?”
Although not a flawless example, the satiric video from SuperNews! called "The Immigration Debate" has relevance to what's happening in Arizona today. The 5-minute clip explores how Native Americans feel when colonists arrive in their ships, ready to start a new life.
What are your favorite resources for exploring issues of prejudice and promoting a just, compassionate world for all people?
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